Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When It Rains It Pours!

Hello Family,
I forgot to tell you last week. While I was in the Tongan program, I got bit by a chihuaha dog. Or i should say the pet of the devil....I then proceeded to have nightmares this past week that I had some kind of curse that revolved around me, that no matter where I went, dogs were attracted to me because they wanted to attack me. it was very horrifying. And only increased my hatred for dogs. She bit me on the arm, and finally the member put her on her lap, where she was sitting straight up, in a human way, and stared at me the whole lesson. It was very unnerving.
On better news, we supposedly have two investigators with a baptismal date. I say supposedly becasue we havent actually met them yet. We have known about them for two weeks, but the pass off between missionaries is not going well and they keep falling through. BUT then we had an awesome girl from our ward speak on Sunday and she invited some of her nonmember friends. They were so moved by the talks that they asked for the speaker's phone number after the meeting. We got the member to talk to them about speaking WITH US! They agreed! Woohoo! The power of members and the Sabbath! After all this struggle with investigators, we are getting them fast!
We passed off an awesome girl named Alisha, who is from China, to the YSA elders. But during the pass off lesson she answered everything perfectly, we were so proud! Pretty sure she will be baptized! I was so happy to have taught her even just a little.

Well my companion and I are great. We like to quote Harry Potter a lot. We are going hiking today for our Zone Activity. Sorry this is short. THE CHURCH IS TRUE! LOVE YOU!
Sister Martin

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Dear Family,
Malo! It means thankyou in Tongan. Malo for being the best family :) I appreciate all of your emails and updates.
This week I went on back to back exchanges with the Tongan sisters. I first got to go to Castro Valley, where there are so many funerals hapening! Even the morning I was there someone else had already died. It was so strange. And that affects the whole Tongan community. I also ate dinner with a lady who had taken food from the YSA activity haha. She wanted me to eat a hamburger, jumbo hotdog, bbq chicken, marinated chicken, a big salad, corn on the cob, watermelon, juice, soda, and cake. I think I listed it all. I said "sister, I can not eat all of this!" Which I know can be offensive, but so would throwing up I imagine. She was very nice and told me I could take home what I did not eat. She then sent me home with ALL of the leftovers. Then I was SOOOO excited I got to exchange with Sister Fiefia in Union City! I am BEYOND proud of her. She speaks the best Tongan of all the Tongan missionaries, so the members adore her, and she has completely turned around her area and teaches all day long basically. She is doing a great job training too. And both Tongan companions I had made me breakfast loaded with eggs and bread cooked in eggs (like a french toast). I think I ate more protein in the 3 days in the Tongan program than I have in my whole mission combined. Just kidding, but seriously...hopefully I did not come back 5 pounds heavier. But I helped Sister Fiefia teach two hispanic girls who want nothing to do with Spanish anything, they would rather go to the Tongan ward haha. So we extended baptismal dates and they accepted! Sister Fiefia found them in a stairwell and had asked Plan of Salvation questions, "have you ever wondered where you came from or why you are here?" and the girl looked at her in shock and said "Oh my gosh! That is exactly what I have been thinking about lately!" The Lord truly prepares these people!
Also, when I was in the middle of exchanges, I walked into the Visitor's Center to end one exchange and wait for the other sisters to get there to do another, and the first person I saw in the VC was RYAN GILLIS! Woah weird! I called his name and he was surprised to see me, he remembered I was serving in California but not sure where. Then he said "so you probably don't know, I am getting married in like an hour." Woah, weird! Then I saw his family outside the Oakland temple! What are the odds he got married in the Oakland temple?! At the very moment I happened to pass through. I gave Alisha and Sister Gillis a hug, but they were running late for the sealing so that was it. That was possibly one of the strangest things that has happened to me on my mission haha. I am getting so absorbed by mission life, I forget about everyone else my age doing those things. I told them all congrats. If any of you see Kami Chamberlain or her family, tell them I said congrats as well. Weird, weird, weird.
Well we found some new investigators this week, but they are too young for our ward, so we are passing them off to the YSA elders. They will probably be baptized, they are super cool girls from China! Hopefully we get blessed with investigators we can actually continue teaching. That is two weeks in a row we consistently found 2 new investigators a week, but we cannot teach them. My companion and I almost wonder though if it is our ward not ready yet to receive new members. As wonderful as some of the people are, everything is still new and learning to function. We don't even have some of the key callings called yet. We do have 81 names on record, which is awesome! It grows every week. No one really knows each other too much yet, but its getting better. 
Sorry for the ramblings for this week, this transfer is going by fast! I have three more exchanges this week, including going back to Walnut Creek, and the Oakland Samoan program! Oh yeah we had Zone Conference this week. It was really good, we got training on asking inspired questions so we can teach by the spirit and people can recieve by the spirit. It has changed my teaching, and I have seen amazing results! I thought I understood inspired questions before, but this was a very different training, I loved it!
Sistah Mahtini from Texsisi (Tongan name from Texas)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Reactivation is the BEST!

Dear Family,
I have a testimony of how amazing it feels to have less actives you are working with come to CHURCH! We are now consistently visiting two less actives (so far) every week. We have had the MOST amazing lessons with them, and one even completely got someone else to take her shift at work so she could come to ALL THREE hours of church! I have heard someone say that is like the Celestial Kingdom of church is making it all 3 hours. It's true, she stood up after Relief Society and commented how much she loved Relief Society! She even commented how our lesson had totally helped her feel the Spirit which helped her to dump her mentally abusive boyfriend and decide she needs to prepare to go back to the temple! I was in a missionary meeting once where we talked about having "astonishing" teaching, just like in the Book of Mormon (you know, after they would preach and hundreds would be baptized). Well we had a lesson where we talked about the Plan of Salvation with her, and she stopped me in my sentence and said "woah, stop! you just blew my mind!" Even though that lesson didn't bring about hundreds of baptisms, we are really striving to have the Spirit be more powerful in our lessons. If it brings that one soul back, then it was astonishing to me!
Also, we had a great day where we fasted to find an investigator. We went contacting in downtown Pleasant Hill. The first person we talked to was a super prepared 17 year old kid. He has been through a lot of hard things in his life, and when he talked to us about how he reads a Bible verse everyday on his phone, we talked about the Book of Mormon, and got a return appointment. When we went to his apartment with our member, he let us in. His mom knew we were coming, but had run out for something real quick. In the meantime, her boyfriend was there and guess what? He was a member! He had been baptized 4 years ago in Florida, and is now less active. He had JUST moved in the day before AND he is also a mid single! (since they are not married). THEN his mom came home and sat in on our lesson. We had just done an introduction about how our message was about Jesus Christ and how the gospel helps us, etc. but when we said we wanted to start with a prayer, she said they were going to eat dinner and didn't have time...but to come back later that week. Ugh, so close! But we passed them off to the family ward (actually the Walnut Creek sisters) since they were interested. This kid even brought up baptism before we ever did! It was pretty cool. Even though we did not get a new investigator that day, we actually met our goals for the week of lessons taught. We had more people in church, including our less actives. So there were some good blessings brought from fasting, even if it wasn't what we thought we wanted.
Speaking of what we want, I have a thought from one of the poems handed out on the last Sunday of the old East Bay Ward. It says a little something like "I prayed for answers, and God gave me problems to solve. I prayed for love, and I got troubled people to help....I received nothing I wanted and everything I needed. My prayers have been answered." It's a lot longer, but you get the idea.
I also gave a talk on Sunday on "The Power of Invitation". We DO need to be good examples, but that alone will NOT help you share the gospel. You have to open your mouth and say something! You have to INVITE, just like the Savior did. Tell others to "come and see" what and who you are all about (see Elder Anderson's last talk in conference for a reference). Then if they have liked your good example they will connect why.
LOVE YOU! And in the words of my dear convert companion every time anything good happens to us, "the Church is true!"
Sister Martin 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Here We Go

My new companion is Sister Evans. She is a convert of 2 1/2 years, very kind, also from Texas (Fort Worth area) and also went to BYU. She is one of the 19 year olds, but I am very happy to have her be my companion, she has a fantastic testimony.
We finally visited a less active we found several weeks ago. We had a sister from Relief Society go with us who has experience being less active herself. We really spent time making a lesson plan for his needs. The Spirit truly blessed our preparation, because the Spirit was so strong. The man was able to open up and share how he is truly looking for peace in his life and to get closer to God. When we extended the invite to come to church, he quickly and readily said yes! Miracle, this is exactly what the Church had in mind for this ward, that we could find those who need a place to go at their age, a spiritual home of sorts. Our member was the perfect testimony and could relate to him, and we came out of there on a spiritual high! It felt like someone had just said yes to baptism, that's how good it felt.
President Meredith called me and asked to pick up another set of sisters to exchange with this transfer. Its the Samoan sisters in Oakland! I have to do 8 exchanges now. Also I went to the Mission Leadership council, and our mission is getting prepared to have a general authority come tour our mission! We are very excited.
Well the work is hastening, I hope you all are a part of it! Our ward really is picking up on helping out with missionary work, and I know it brings no greater happiness. To quote a sister from Relief Society, "If you want to change, change." Going out with missionaries is a positive change to have in your life. Just say yes and go with them!
Sister Martin